Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bulls-Eye: Camacho Triple Maduro 11/18

What a nice surprise! After a rather harsh experience with a Camacho Triple Maduro robusto, I was reluctant to fire up the boa-constrictor shaped "11/18" vitola from the same family line. So I kept this gi-normous baby sleeping in my humidor for nearly a year.

What a difference that nap must have made! The Camacho Triple Maduro 11/18 is an eventful, flavorful cigar, and almost worth its ridiculously high retail price.

Ok, let me rephrase that: If you can afford it, the 11/18 is definitely worth the price. If you can't, save up and try it once, just to say you did.

Some details: The 11/18 has a wonderfully easy draw with cool, mellow smoke at the outset. In fact it seems alarmingly mild at first. However the profile quickly gets stronger and fuller, exhibiting earthy, rooty hues, salt and mineral tones, and even a fruity hint of something like plumb or cherry. Everything is well-balanced and in constant development with each puff.

By mid point, this is a hearty captain of a smoke. Never hot, and always free and easy. This black bomber never becomes as heavy and deep as you might expect. On the other hand it never turns bitter, which is the pitfall of many strong cigars. Quite a fast burner, this totem pole was reduced to a nub in about one hour. It was an hour well spent.

I might describe the TM 11/18 as a ramped-up version of the Hoyo Excaliber maduro robusto, a cheaper cigar with a very similar flavor profile, only milder. Since I love strength, the 11/18 definitely takes the cake.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Image VS Reality: Coronado by La Flor

The Coronado by La Flor Corona Especiale was not quite the mouth-watering gem I hoped it would be. However it was a fine-burning, subtley tasteful, medium-bodied cigar that I heartily enjoyed by the pool on a sunny day in Florida. The flavor qualities were a middle-of-the-road combo of cedar, soft leather and occasional spice.

The construction was excellent and the performance consistent, with the strength increasing slightly towards the end. Oh, and by the way: It's a beautiful cigar with an ornate label that makes you feel classy in a Hugh Hefner sort of way, if you care about that sort of thing.

Back to reality: In summary, the Coronado Corona Especiale provides a nice 90-minute ride without any jarring twists and turns. If anything, it's a bit uneventful for my adventurous tastes.

No surprises here, just your standard high-priced cigar and worth 5 bucks if you manage to win it at cigarbid on the "singles" page. I wouldn't spend much more, however, because it's not a unique, palate-wowing cigar. There are dozens of other brands similar in flavor and quality, many of them cheaper.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deep-Dish, Melt Your Taste Buds in Ecstasy

I have found my greatest cigar discovery so far this year: The Rocky Patel Olde Worlde Corojo robusto. This cigar has the rich, melt-in-your-mouth smoothness that is akin to eating a fine dessert or pastry. The weight and balance of the smoke are incredible. The flavor is hard to describe, with a tint of nutmeg spicing a wondrous soup of palate-pleasing ingredients that might include cedar, leather, honey, and pumpkin. The draw is remarkably open and cool - a difficult combination to pull off - and the quality abides all the way to the final inch.

This cigar is well worth the shockingly high list price of 50 bucks per five pack. However, it is offered on discount regularly (today as a matter of fact at cigarsinternational "daily Joe") and typically auctions at $25 per 5-pack on cigarbid.com. If you can get these for $5.00 each, you are in like Flynn and living the life of Riley.

I ordered the daily Joe special as a gift to myself on St. Patrick's Day. However you need no excuse for spending money on a cigar this good.

I've heard the Olde World maduros are even better than the corojos. It's hard to imagine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Camacho Breakfast Kick-Start: 10th Anniversary robusto

The Camacho 10th Anniversary Robusto is actually more like a Rothschild in size (4.5" x 50) but quite a powerhouse that delivers a long-duration smoke despite its short size.

This husky, peppery tenderloin steak of a cigar should probably not be ingested before noon, which is exactly what I did. This thing just about knocked me out of my chair, leaving me a swirling mass of dizzy-headed jelly. The flavor however was superb, as were the draw and burn. I only had to re-light once, which is pretty good for a Camacho (for some reason, most Camachos require at least two touch-ups, but they taste great all the way to the nub - a tradeoff I'm more than willing to take).

There's a reason people pay high prices for the 10th Anniversary line. That reason, I now see, is quality. The cheaper Camacho Corojo figurado, in comparison, is nearly as good in flavor but a notch down in power and fullness. Serious Camacho fans love that extra strength and meatiness that few other brands can match.

I was able to nab this 10th Anniversary robusto for $5 on the "singles" bidding section at cigarbid. It was worth it, and I wish I had more.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Classy Little Wench

The Tatuaje Havana VI Angeles delivers a tart yet balanced flavor that preferably could have been a bit deeper and richer. However, it's about as good as you can get from a cigar this small (4.6 inch X 42 ring) and the flavor remains steady all the way to the nub. That itself is an accomplishment that sets this apart from other small cigars.

People are bidding these things up to $25 per five-pack on cigarbid, which I don't quite understand. It is a nice cigar but nothing fantastic. You could just as easily spend the $25 and get 5 or 10 really rich, full-flavored cigars from any number of labels, in robusto or larger sizes.

All things considered, when I need a short-duration cigar, I'll stick to Rocky Vintage 2nds perfectos and CAO Italia Novellas. They have a tad more fullness, they're substantially cheaper, and they burn the same length of time before you have to toss them.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good While it Lasts: RP Double Maduro torpedo

The Rocky Patel Double Maduro torpedo lights up with the fresh, crackling flavor you expect just by looking at this dark beauty. You are immediately swinging from the jungle-vine, beating your chest like Tarzan and off to conquer distant planets with Captain Kirk. Ships ahoy matey, set sail and start blowing rich and tasty smoke. The draw is even and the burn is good, clear skies ahead.

This pleasant journey continues for a full three inches of the cigar. Then the wind starts going out of the sails at about the 3.5 inch mark, with a hint of bitterness in the puff. By inch 4 the ride is over. However, four good inches from a 6-inch torpedo is a respectable performance, so I would recommend this tasty treat for at least a try.

I do prefer a cigar that delivers peak flavor all the way to the nub. But you can't always get this. The RP double maduro torpedo is not a deep-dish, melt-your-taste-buds-in-ecstasy product, but it's a solid professional cigar that delivers well on its mid-range price point and has an interesting flavor profile with tones of salt, peat and sweetness.